Last week, following my social media kvetching about pulling staples from the tile underlayment in the 1′ x 3′ area around the back door, several folks suggested I buy some fencing pliers.
Now I’m not usually one to go for cheap tools, but because I didn’t know if they would work (and I hope to never have to again use them), I picked up a cheap pair from Home Depot – only $5.
Those suckers are awesome. I had about 10 staples pulled in the time it had taken me to pull one without them. (Plus I’m set if I ever decide to build a barbed-wire fence).
Now I hadn’t planned on removing any more tile until I had my base cabinets built – but I had a rage-induced energy overload (which is all I’ll say on that front, so please don’t ask); I decided it was best put to use by breaking things. So I did.
And with most of the tile out, well, why not find out what horrors awaited under the hardboard? (And I still had plenty of energy to burn.)
Unfortunately, I can’t yet tell just how horrid the horrors are; there’s too much residue from the 30-year old (or more) rosin paper (which may actually be tar paper – rat bastards) sticking to the wood. I took a few desultory swipes at it with an old putty knife, but some chunks of wood came up with a few of my exploratory passes (flat-sawn lumber…not the best choice for flooring).
I think I’ll have to leave the gunk removal to #20-grit sander pads, just as I did in the living room and dining room. (I’m writing a check for that bit, by the by – and happily paying extra for “dustless sanding.”)
The wood matches what’s in my living room – 3-1/4″ wide boards and 4-1/4″-wide boards in no discernible pattern, and I expect I’ll be searching for a few random 100-year-old (or older) heart-pine boards in those widths (if possible) to tooth in any particularly unsound areas. But if said areas are small enough, I’m toying with the idea of nailing in a patch of copper, as I’ve seen done in many old bars in England. (Yes, some of my misspent youth was passed in English bars – where, apparently, I got a good look at the floors. And because I remember this, let’s just assume it wasn’t a close-up view.)
There are two areas that are quite bad – one at the threshold into a small hallway that leads to the living room, off which the small half-bath is located. The other is right next to it, on the backside of the bathroom wall. I suspect last autumn’s guest-induced water damage in said bathroom didn’t help matters (there was standing water on the floor that seeped through to the kitchen and down to basement). But regardless of how or when the damage occurred, I have to fix it. The good thing is, the damage doesn’t extend too far at the doorway, so I think I can safely get around the problem by covering it with a wide threshold.
The other bad spot is beneath where the refrigerator will go, and into the base cabinet area. So I’ll have some work to do there. I’m thinking that if it all has to come out in that 2′ x 5′ area, and I can’t find enough period lumber for patching, maybe I can make some kind of floor inlay in a geometric pattern…something that looks like it belongs, in case a future owner decides to relocate the fridge. Because it will be covered, I could probably get away with slapping down some 3/4″ ply. But I just can’t bring myself to do that. (And I don’t want to be the cause of someone complaining about a former owner’s shoddy rehab job; that would be incredibly hypocritical.)
So with the bulk of my work on the floor removal out of the way (the rest simply has to wait…because it’s under cabinets and appliances that I’m not quite ready to live without), I finally ordered the plywood for the cabinets: 11 sheets of 3/4″ and three sheets of 1/4″ for the cabinets backs. And there’s the hardwood-lumber buy for the face frames and doors and drawers to come, plus hardware.
I should stock up now on Ramen noodles. You can make those in a microwave, I think?